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Michelle's Quit Story

"I can’t count the number of times I tried to put cigarettes down..."

By Michelle

Updated November 28, 2006

Michelle's Quit Story

Michelle and her son

At 13 I was the cool kid in town. The goth hardcore punk of my day. Bad girl all the way. Seventeen years later, I have a great husband who I couldn’t live without and the most wonderful son in the world, and I almost die from smoking-related issues. How selfish of me to almost take myself from people who love me with their whole hearts and from a baby who hasn’t even had the chance to enjoy his mommy. The coolest thing I could see myself doing was to stop!

I always said, "I can stop smoking any time I want! I’m not that addicted!" I can’t count the number of times I tried to put cigarettes down and just walk away. The second day of a quit would always result in me sneaking off to have that one last smoke hidden in the vent or the cookie jar (which was never used for cookies, just junk). Even during 8 months of pregnancy I was too selfish to stop. I was very lucky that my horrible smoking did nothing to my child, my diabetes was worse for him than anything. But the birth of my child is where my horror story begins.

I spent two days in the hospital before I came home with my beautiful new baby boy. I had never seen anything so beautiful or sweet in my entire life. A week into being a new mommy I had some trouble breathing. I went to the ER and was told that I was constipated. I was quite upset that they thought my bottom had something to do with my lungs. For four days in a row I went to the ER and tried to tell them that I was sick. On that fourth day I had my mother go with me.

The last thing I have a clear memory of is the doctor and nurses getting me ready for the AirLife flight. I remember being put into the helicopter and looking up and seeing the face of my brother who had been killed in a car accident only 7 months earlier. I remember thinking ok, this is it, at least I was able to hold my child and my husband when I slept last night. Then everything went black and when I woke up, it was almost a week later.

I had tubes sticking out of me from every direction and this thing down my throat and a machine breathing for me. As soon as someone noticed that my eyes were open, they started running around, saying "SHES AWAKE GIVE HER MEDS SHES AWAKE!" I thought, no kidding I’m awake! Don't knock me out, just tell me where I am!

I learned I had been sedated for several days because I would not stay calm, and the only time my heart wasn’t racing was when they laid my child on my chest. The first thing I asked when I was able to hold a pen was Am I going to die?! They assured me that I would be fine eventually. It seemed as though the only question they were concerned about was how long I had smoked.

I found out that I had pneumonia in both lungs and a cyst with its own blood supply. My heart and this cyst were pushing together and squeezing out what breathing space I had left. I spent a week in ICU to get rid of the pneumonia enough to have surgery. Oh so wonderful surgery. I had 2 broken ribs where they had to pull them apart to get to my lungs and a muscle that still will not go back in place.

It took another week to recover enough to take out the chest tubes. I was sent home with strict instructions to never smoke another cigarette. Two hours later, during our trip home, we stop to see some relatives who also happen to smoke. Well...so did I. I smoked for five months before realizing my lungs were starting to hurt on a daily basis and my breathing was getting very shallow. I couldn’t sleep with my husband, but instead had to sleep in the recliner so I could sleep sitting up. I'd had enough!

I didn’t have much money so my mom said that if I would try it, she would buy SmokeAway to help me quit. I agreed to try it. It saved me! I didn’t even do all the things it said to. It was so easy. I just read the little book of testimonials every day and took the herbal pill 3 times a day. Three days later, I was done. I even went through a very stressful day of being stuck in a car on the 2nd day and did fine. I was amazed!

I starting smoking when I was 13, 17 years ago. That means I've spent approximately $20,200 on cigarettes! And my husband smoked also so double that. He quit too, but picked up dipping...yuck.

Another aspect of this that people sometimes don’t think about has to do with the smell. Oh my, I never realized how bad I smelled. I never smoked in my house or my car but it still sticks to you so everyone I hugged had smoke smell on them. Other people hated the smell, like my family. They never said much because they love me, but I know now it was terrible for them.

Every building I walked into (including hospitals) had smoke in them that came from me, I'm so sorry now that I see firsthand how sick it can make a non-smoker who already isn’t well to have a smoke filled smoker walk by and leave a smoke trail. Now that I don’t smoke, I cannot stand being around someone who does. The smell gives me headaches and is just unpleasant.

I see young kids who smoke and every once in a while I’ll work up the nerve to go and talk to them face to face and tell them how it affects them and everyone around them. I figure the younger you are the easier it is to stop. If you are 18, feel like you are 18 not 28. I try to explain that I didn’t realize I felt so much older until I didn’t smoke.

You have to want to stop smoking. You have to find your own reason. I can tell you all day that you need to quit and if you don’t want to listen, you won’t. You have to ask yourself...is that cigarette really worth it? Is it worth your loved ones losing you?

The truth is, some people smoke their whole life and nothing happens but you never know, your child who rides in the car with you while you smoke could die from lung cancer when they are 38, never having picked up a cigarette.

Ya know, I never thought I would lose my brother in a car accident and I never thought I would have to be flown in a helicopter to save my life. Anything can happen and you have no control but you do have control over what you put in your body.
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